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GODS, DEVILS, AND MEN                       55

official residence, with a pond in front, a very good garden planted
with thirty-one varieties of flowers, and a pavilion at the back.

Now he was well settled and without too much official responsibility
as an assistant magistrate. He was free to travel, and he made trips to
the mountains east and south for days. Once his official duty called
for extensive travel in the neighbouring district on an inspection tour
to settle outstanding cases of crime quickly and to release as many
prisoners as he could. Nothing could have suited him better, and he
roamed through the mountains of Taipo, the temples of the Black
Water Valley, and the birthplace of the founder of the Chou dynasty.
Sometimes there was nothing to do, and he would go as far as the
famous Chungnan Hills near Sian, to look at a precious manuscript or
an original painting by the famous-portrait painter Wu Taotse, owned
by one of his friends.

Su Tungpo was young and restless. For the first time he was com-
pletely on his own, living with his young wife and baby. Now that
he had tasted the first flavour of official life, it did not seem so wonder-
ful as he had pictured and dreamed. Living away from the excitement
of the capital, the position of a deputy magistrate in an outlying dis-
trict countersigning documents and trying lawsuits rather bored him.
Now and then he would feel very lonely, but at other times, seeing the
moonbeam in his wine goblet, he would be elated.

In his years of immaturity, he had need of the advice of his wife.
"Ivlrs. Su seems to have had far better practical sense than he. She
admired her husband, it is true, for she realised that she had married a
famous, young, handsome poet. When a brilliant poet lives with a
woman of plain common-sense, however, it usually turns out that
the wife rather than the husband shows superior wisdom. Always in
marriage there is the continual <play of the opposite and complemen-
tary forces of man, and woman. Knowing Tungpo's very forthright
and sometimes impetuous nature, she felt not so much the need of
admiring him as the duty of taking care of him. Su Tungpo had sound
sense in big things and no sense in little things; but life usually con-
sists of the many little things and the big things are usually few and
far between, and Tungpo the husband listened to his wife. Mrs. Su
reminded him that he_was now living for the first time without the
guidance of his father. Su believed in everybody, but his wife was a
better judge of men. She would stand behind the screen and listen
to the conversations between her husband and his visitors. One day,
after a guest had left, she said to him: "Why did you waste your time
talking with that man? He was always watching what you were going
to say in order to agree with you."

She warned him against superficial friends who were a little too
demonstrative, and whom he had befriended on his famous theory that